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Football Clubs kick goals

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Football/Netball Clubs participating in the ‘Good Sports’ and ‘Looking after Our Mates’ Programs are kicking goals when it comes back to cutting back alcohol consumption according to Nationals Member for Benalla and former Fitzroy player, Bill Sykes.

Dr Sykes said that the 2006 Australian Drug Foundation survey of Australian Rules Football/Netball clubs shows:

  • ‘Good Sports’ club members consumed on an average half the number of alcoholic drinks at club events that non-‘Good Sports’ club members consumed; and
  • ‘Good Sports’ club members had reduced their drinking at club events on average from six standard drinks to three; and
  • Thirteen per cent of ‘Good Sports’ club members drank at risky levels, compared to 41 per cent of non –‘Good Sports’ club members.

According to Dr Sykes this great news may struggle to compete with sensational stories of alcohol and drug abuse by AFL stars.

Dr Sykes said, “Football/netball clubs play a key role in country communities. It is well known that involvement in sporting clubs results in young people making healthy life choices and having less risk of going off the rails”.

“That said, in the past some football/netball clubs have had a binge drinking culture and many football/netball clubs have felt pressured to maximise alcohol sales to generate much needed funds to put teams on the field each week.

The ‘Good Sports’ program encourages the responsible serving of alcohol and for the clubs to develop a family friendly culture which has been found to assist in attracting alternative sources of sponsorship and funds.

Dr Sykes continued, “I was a member of the Parliamentary Drugs & Crime Committee which conducted an inquiry into the harmful effects of alcohol, especially binge drinking in young people.

“A disturbing fact presented to the committee was the very high number of road deaths in young male drivers (aged 18-24) with alcohol and speed often being involved.

“Therefore initiatives such as the ‘Good Sports’ program and ‘Looking After our Mates’ are targeting a major issue and are obviously having success.”

Dr Sykes concluded, “I encourage the many football/netball clubs participating in these programs to continue to do so and to those clubs which have not yet signed up I encourage them to sign up as it is truly a win/win situation – a great club atmosphere, leading to on and off field success and keeping our young people fit and alive”.

Written by Greg Naylor

23 March 2007 at 5:59 pm

Posted in media release

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